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Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 02:20 PM   #1
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Tics

Anybody have any nervous tics? I pace. My wife says I obnoxiously snap my toes, too. I don't really notice.

So, our almost-4-year-old developed some tics last week. Pretty subtle sniffing and blinking. Most people wouldn't notice them. Freaked us out!

I immediately went into tic-research mode. No known causes (some say stress and lack-of-sleep may be triggers). No cure. No way to tell if they'll persist as she grows up.

So, I started keeping a log to see if we could find any triggers. Nothing really stood out. Except for the tuna sandwich she ate just before this started.

Turns out there is a strong link between mercury and tics.

Her tics have stopped since yesterday. No way to tell if they're really over. No way to tell if they were linked to her tuna sandwich.

But no more tuna for her! If you have a kid under 6 or so, consider taking it easy on the seafood.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #2
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
So, our almost-4-year-old developed some tics last week. Pretty subtle sniffing and blinking. Most people wouldn't notice them. Freaked us out!
I immediately went into tic-research mode. No known causes (some say stress and lack-of-sleep may be triggers). No cure. No way to tell if they'll persist as she grows up.
So, I started keeping a log to see if we could find any triggers. Nothing really stood out.
She's discovered that whenever she does those things her parents freak out.

She'll get tired of that game in about 14 years. Or maybe 40...
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Re: Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 03:50 PM   #3
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Re: Tics

My mother would often jiggle her right foot when she was sitting. One of my sisters does the same, and she was only two when our mother died. Her daughter does as well.

Little genetic mystery?

Better a little tic or two than Tourettes.

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Re: Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 06:20 PM   #4
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Better a little tic or two than Tourettes.
Anyone see the Curb Your Enthusiasm show with the grand opening of Larry's new restaurant? Tourette's is no laughing matter, but it's part in that episodes is one of the funniest piece of comedy I have ever seen in my life.

Oh... this was about tics. Carry on.

BTW, Martha, the fidgeting feet you refer to probably are not a tic, but rather a mannerism. A true nonTourette's, routine "tic" is characterized by a repetitive gesture or utterance which is not fully controllable, which can be temporarily suppressed but eventually re-emerges at times more intensely than baseline. The actual tic tends to be of very brief duration (seconds) but can wax and wane over weeks at a time.

Their greatest risk is when the sufferer or a well-meaning parent or loved one misinterprets it, develops excessive anxiety, uses medications and otherwise exaggerates its seriousness. Many or most kids grow out of it, though it can occasionally flare for a while in adulthood. Best greeted in a matter of fact way once serious causes are excluded.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 11:12 PM   #5
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Re: Tics

Rich, I think your advice is great. I had various tics as a child. My parents went on a campaign to get rid of them and the tics magnified intensely in frequency during that time. Only when my parents finally gave up did the tics subside to their prior minor level.

I still have them sporadically as an adult. They come and go at their own volition but tend to show up when I am feeling very stressed. I've learned how to cope with them --- basically, ignore them or do something proactive about the stress such as vigorous exercise. Of all the health issues that one can be saddled with, I am grateful to have something so benign.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-25-2007, 11:29 PM   #6
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Re: Tics

I have suffered from a tic in my eyelid from time to time. However for me it has only jumped into action when I have been extremely/tired and stressed.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 06:44 AM   #7
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Re: Tics

there was a guy at summer camp who we used to call blinky. i haven't thought of blinky in 40 years. this forum is great for dredging up all sorts of odd memories.

by the way, if it helps relieve some concern, i've heard canned tuna has less mercury than tuna steaks because it is from smaller, younger tuna which haven't had the time to absorb more of the metal. but i don't know if that's true. sure sounds like good advice to restrict it from your kid. makes me wonder what the next generation will be protecting their kids from.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 07:51 AM   #8
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
My mother would often jiggle her right foot when she was sitting. One of my sisters does the same, and she was only two when our mother died. Her daughter does as well.

Little genetic mystery?

Better a little tic or two than Tourettes.

My father had the same habit I have. When sitting idle, we both would unconsciously wave our right finger back and forth - almost in a square pattern. He, my DS, my DD, and I also shake our legs when sitting. Any of us can shake a room with a wooden floor. DW always tries to stop it but I think it burns off a lot of calories.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 12:39 PM   #9
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
there was a guy at summer camp who we used to call blinky.
You're the guy who used to tease me at camp!

This is why parents freak out. Kids are cruel. It's the hit on self-esteem that we worry about.

When I first noticed her blink last week, I asked her if something was in her eye. She snapped back "I'm just blinking. You blink, too. Everybody blinks!"

I guess I wasn't the first to mention it.

We're less freaked out now. But we still hope it'll go away, and we're trying to help give her a foundational sense of humor that should help her cope if she needs to.

So, now when she sniffs, she tells us there's an elephant in her nose and it won't come out. :P
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 05:10 PM   #10
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Re: Tics

My favorite National Sales Manager while working at megacorp for 23 years had tics. He would blink his right eye while pulling the right side of his mouth up and then repeat on the other side - along with sniffing.
He took an opportunity to be "demoted" to a regional manager position that became available. He changed - next meeting - he looked refreshed, had no tics and his sense of humor was spot on. Stress definately had its grip on him.

I did'nt ask him about tuna sandwiches intake

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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 05:20 PM   #11
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Re: Tics

If I had you for a dad, I might develop a tic or two. (dang the day just isnt complete without a little wab baiting)

I heard somewhere that forcing a child to develop too early, such as pushing the toilet training or pushing them to talk before they're ready can cause some developmental backlash and accompanying nervous tics.

Maybe having a smart dad home all day is moving her along a little too quickly...? A possibly negative outgrowth of ER?

Gabes lucky...his dads lazy. I'm letting him do stuff sort of at his own pace with a little push now and then.

She might also be developing an allergy (food or otherwise) which might be causing similar symptoms

That having been said, we're taking it easy on the seafood as well, especially the canned tuna. Its not looking so good anymore.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 05:22 PM   #12
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Re: Tics

There is also this:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1/p5m-ocd1.html

Strep throat a causative factor for tics.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-26-2007, 11:39 PM   #13
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
There is also this:
http://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1/p5m-ocd1.html
Strep throat a causative factor for tics.
Interesting. VERY interesting. I will be seeing my parents this weekend and I'll ask them about the timeline of the appearance of the tics and of my tonsillectomy, both of which happened around age 7. My tonsils were removed due to repeated, unrelenting throat infections . . . .
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 12:49 AM   #14
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Re: Tics

No strep or other obvious causes in our case. That's why I latched onto mercury, but I think the level of mercury poisoning would have to be much higher than what you'd get from tuna (which is surprisingly high). Half-life of mercury in the body seems to be 45 days, so we're hoping for recovery by then.

No comorbitity either. She has no signs of OCD, ADHD, or impaired learning. She's at the top of her preschool class.

Linney, there's an interesting study on severity vs age here:

link

Did yours progress something like this?

[img width=750 height=575]http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/vol102/issue1/images/large/pe0783277003.jpeg[/img]
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 08:56 AM   #15
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Re: Tics

Wab dear, I am thinking that you have too much free time.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 10:32 AM   #16
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Wab dear, I am thinking that you have too much free time.


My thought exactly. Young guy retired, young daughter, plenty of time to
obsess. "Perfect storm".?

When our kids were young, our main concern was to "stop the bleeding",
and hope that the doctor was able to set the bones properly.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 11:09 AM   #17
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Re: Tics

I think tics have a large genetic component. My advice is to help a child with a tic to accept the condition, "I have a blinkie eye." As a parent we need to determine if there are situations that precipitate the behavior or if the behavior may cause health problems.

Could be worse, she could grind her teeth in her sleep.
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 12:33 PM   #18
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead*
plenty of time to obsess
Obsess? Obsess?? Obsess!?!

Maybe. Is that treatable?

I understand that tics are common in kids. Estimates go as high as 25%. Most are transient. About 35% of them become chronic. A few in 10,000 go on to TS.

What gets me is that there don't seem to be any markers that discriminate transient vs chronic. The test is whether they persist for a year. So, I may as well dig into this while I wait.

The neurobiology is pretty interesting. Parts of our brain are responsible for generating urges. Another part (basal ganglia) is responsible for surpressing urges. Tics are caused when the basal ganglia are over-inhibited by inhibitory neurons. Brain and behavior -- complex stuff.

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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 01:13 PM   #19
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Re: Tics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Wab dear, I am thinking that you have too much free time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead*
My thought exactly. Young guy retired, young daughter, plenty of time to obsess. "Perfect storm".?
Eh, give the guy a break little slack. It's not as though he has that many ways left to burn off all his curiosity. Barney the Purple Dinosaur videos can only take you so far...

When's that cast come off?
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Re: Tics
Old 01-27-2007, 01:20 PM   #20
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Re: Tics

Oh come on...theres always Johnny and the Sprites and Caillou to mix up the Barney repeats.

And did you know that there was a full length Barney movie?
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